In his latest installment of "At the Movies," Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers sets up a heavyweight showdown between two "tough guy movies" hitting the big screen this month: A Walk Among the Tombstones (starring Liam Neeson) and The Equalizer (starring Denzel Washington). Travers offers ringside commentary, breaking down the actors' impressive bad-ass credentials. But who will emerge victorious?
In Scott Frank's A Walk Among the Tombstones, out on September 19th, Neeson plays a private investigator hired to find the killer of a drug dealer's wife. "You think it's another version of [2008's] Taken because Taken was such a hit – but it's not," Travers says. "Liam goes through this movie in kind of an old-school way, taking care of all the creeps that are in New York. But it doesn't have that zip."
The Equalizer, out September 26th, reunites Washington with Training Day director Antoine Fuqua – and the star brings out his best intimidating facial expressions and chilling gestures, as his character "dole(s) out some rough justice" to Russian gangsters.
"To me, Denzel is basically the coolest guy in movies," Travers says. "He is really tough." And even though it's is a violent thriller, Travers says The Equalizer "has some kind of meaning behind it," building off Washington's mesmerizing performance.
"You're seeing an actor taking control of a role that could have been a cliché and making him somebody real," he says, declaring Washington the victor in this epic "tough guy" bout. "And that makes all the action work."